His name is on the acceptance list but without using the entry protection. And because the cut off is 73 he will have to play quali for a challenger? Kind of strange, isn`t it??
It is strange
but I think I would also be very "geizig" and selective what eight tournaments you use your protected ranking for. You may spread them over nine months after your return and getting into, for example, Masters (which require a high ranking) without qualies should be priority. And you don't have so many tournaments before the French Open or Wimbledon prior to their 6 week entry deadline. If things are going bad, he must save two for Grand Slams and if he wants to play Masters without qualies he can use the them for it or for little tournaments you want to play. You hardly can afford the luxery to spend it on a challenger IMO and most of all, I think the qualy match or any match under competetive framework would be already a good first test after such a long time (and if you lose there, you can say it is only a challenger; do you lose a qualy for a Masters it is of different imporatance).